21 May 2012

Maybe One of the Most Striking Examples of Regulatory Capture, Whaling Edition

This is a rare non-R/my research-based post.

From Wikipedia
I’ve been reading D. Graham Burnett’s The Sounding of the Whale: Science and Cetaceans in the Twentieth Century.

One particularly interesting piece of information, in this generally very interesting book for anyone interested in whales, science, the history of science, conservation, regulation, international agreements … is that when the early 20th century officials at the British Colonial Office tried to make sure that the (fairly meagre) whaling restrictions around South Georgia Island were being enforced:
[the official was given] a brisk lesson in South Georgia realpolitik: the [enforcement officer] ‘occupies two rooms in a cottage owned by [the main whaling company] and boards at the managers mess,’ placing him ‘in a most delicate and difficult position’ when it came time to deliver sanctions; his nearest ally was some 800 miles of rough sea away–and he had no boat.

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